Seven End Times Fears of Believers (and Their Working Solutions)
Looking into Bible prophecy for yourself can be scary business. Not even a Hollywood disaster movie does justice to what Revelation predicts we must go through before Jesus comes. Understandably, even believers get frightened by what they read in their Bibles—despite that verse that says "perfect love casts out all fear." If you haven’t yet acquired "perfect love" then you may want to learn how to conquer the fears you have about the coming prophesied end times events of Revelation.
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A surprising comment appeared on my Facebook wall recently in response to a repost of my article on earthquakes in prophecy:
Mr. Tim, I always read your articles. I'm not gonna lie, they sometimes scare the mess out of me. You don't get frightened by the end times?
Whoops. I had shared the article to conquer fear and doubt (in the wake of the Christchurch earthquake), and instead it had the opposite effect. What went wrong?
I knew right away what the problem was. To explain why single random earthquakes were not prophetic (even when major), the article out of necessity touched on upcoming end time events. Most are unaware of these events or do not fully appreciate them from their personal Bible reading. Awareness of them can be overwhelming and cause anxiety for anyone. But for a less experienced teenager, as this person was, it can be disturbing in other ways.
I know this because over the years I have talked to enough people who are interested in prophecy to have heard of all kinds of fears that arise from it. Teens have their own special concerns. So do seniors. People with serious trouble on the home front can have a fear that is opposite of what you would expect.
If we are honest, I think most of us would have to admit to having been scared by what we read in the Bible. I have had my own fears (that I will discuss below) which I thankfully conquered years ago. The solution came through the answers found while researching my book Know the Future similar to how reading it brings peace to readers.
The good news is that we do not have to stay scared or in dread of what is coming once we learn about it. With better understanding of God's nature and his plan we can conquer all the fears as we shall now see.
Here, then, is my list of common fears from studying the end times, along with their solutions.
1. Fear of Going Through the End Times
The first and most common fear usually happens immediately when something finally inspires a believer to start digging into Bible prophecy himself. Y2K speculation did it for me in 1999. 2012 speculation is doing it for many now. Whatever the catalyst, one soon discovers that what the Bible describes is terrifying. It is not something you can imagine surviving. Reading just about any of my articles can lead to first time knowledge of the frights it describes, like it did for the person who left the comment above. She had lost her sense of safety and comfort about the future that the typical Christian teachings about the end times (like a "pretrib rapture") provides.
I had this fear, too, in 2002. From deep study, I had finally realized that Wormwood of the Third Trumpet was a literal star which brings all the disasters from Revelation 6:12 through 8:13. I realized we had a literal "death star" coming our way.
One of its effects described in Revelation is destructive worldwide tornado-level winds over the entire earth (Rev 7:1-3). At the time I noticed this, there was a prediction going around for Planet X to come in May 15, 2003. While I never put faith in that exact date, I did not know for sure it could not come soon around then. At that time in December, 2002, the high winds of the dry season in Costa Rica were beginning. I was studying the Bible about Wormwood during the day and at night listening to this howling wind swirl around the little one bedroom house our family was renting. I kept thinking to myself, it's going to be just like this but worse when Wormwood approaches and Revelation 7 is fulfilled. How would we survive this?
Solution: I subdued this fear by learning God's plan for his people to escape those winds along with everything else Wormwood causes. I kept studying and in early 2003 I saw God's escape plan for “his people.” That, then, was the last time I was ever scared about the end times. I had learned that rather than there being a celestial escape plan (pretrib rapture), there will be a terrestrialone (a migration).
The interesting part is this escape plan has been done before. Christians know well the story of the Exodus. They know there were Ten Plagues of God's wrath poured out before it as a judgment on Egypt for not letting the children of Israel free earlier. What is easy to overlook in that story is how Israel was right there in the midst of Egypt when these plagues went down. How did they survive without a pretrib or, if you will, “pre-plague” rapture? It tells us how. God “made a difference” between the Egyptians and Israel (Ex 11:7). While Egypt as a nation was devastated, Israel was hardly affected. Since God does not change, he can and will do the same thing again in our day. When it comes time for us to march out to where God chooses to protect us from Wormwood and the Great Tribulation, we will have the miracles we need, just as they did.
You can see this escape plan in Revelation 12 and Joel 2:30-32=Rev 6:12-17, among other verses. My previous article on going through the Great Tribulation also discusses related concerns.
2. Fear of Not Being Smart Enough To Understand End Times Prophecy
If you have trouble understanding the escape plan above, you may start to get anxious. You might begin to worry that an incomplete or incorrect understanding of the end times timeline could cost you dearly. This happens commonly because we've been conditioned in Christianity to judge others by their beliefs and understandings (or that false prophet, false messiah, heretic or cult might get you). This makes us also judge ourselves when we sense that our own understanding is incomplete and/or possibly inaccurate. What if we do not get it all figured out before the end times events begin?
Solution: The solution to this fear is to realize that God is not saving just the Bible scholars, the good students, the pure in doctrine or the paranoid who watch and study every prophetic timeline offered on the internet. He's saving all his servants.
How will he do that? The same way as he did last time. When it was time save his people from Egypt, he did not send them cryptic messages like we have in the Bible and leave them to figure it out. Instead, he sent a single certified prophet named Moses to them. Moses certified he was a prophet through his signs and then spoke plainly to them. There is a prophet or two (Elijah and the Two Witnesses) promised for the end times, not to mention around 144,000 others. God will reach all his servants in every country with the clear instructions they need to follow to be safe. The only thing you will need at that time is the faith and the will to obey. To prepare now, start praying about it and practicing walking by faith, not by sight.
By the way, you might ask what are the Bible's prophecies for, then, if we can't follow them directly? Daniel 12 tells us that what originally was sealed to even Daniel would be understood by wise men in the end times who will lead many to righteousness (Dan 12:9-10; 3). When you do read and understand the prophecies you are blessed (Rev 1:1-3) and better prepared to accept what must be done later because you were forewarned (Mt 24:25; Jn 14:29). If you can get past your anxiety about what you read, continuing to study Bible prophecy is a great preparation. I think that is a major reason he preserved it down to this generation.
3. Fear of Not Being Good or Righteous Enough To Escape the End Times
God plans to save his servants from everything you read about from the 6th seal through the 7th bowl (Rev 6:12-19:21). If you learn about the plan to do that and feel like you understand it well enough, the next fear that may creep in is a doubt as to your own merit for inclusion in it. In other words, what if you are not one of the ones “accounted worthy” or “having the strength” to make it? That phrase comes from the namesake verse of my website www.EscapeAllTheseThings.com:
Luke 21:36 (HCSB) — But be alert at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that are going to take place and to stand before the Son of Man.
Luke 21:36 (KJV) — Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.
The KJV follows a different manuscript reading for this verse, “may be accounted worthy” instead of “may have the strength.” Either reading is challenging in how they make it sound like your physical salvation is based on performance. KJV causes even more trouble by attaching “always” to “pray” instead of “watch/stay alert.” Jesus taught us in his parables to be alert or on our guard against backsliding into sin. That's hard enough as many Christians worry about unintentional sins, addictions or their stray evil thoughts being held against them. The “pray always” is another troublesome requirement. I have not met a Christian yet who would not confess, “I don't pray as much as I should.” Thus, this reading of the verse can make it easy to imagine you might not have what it takes to escape in that day.
Solution: This fear is tied to common worthiness issues that many people have even in normal "good times." Many people, especially believers, judge themselves as not good enough, not lovable, or unacceptable. Often it comes from childhood scars, but it can just simply come from a having a more self-critical personality type or exposure to the judgmentalism of many flavors of Christianity. If you cannot see yourself as acceptable, then it becomes easy to imagine God as not accepting you either.
The solution is to assault your own errant beliefs with the truth revealed in the Bible. There is a veritable mountain of passages in both the Old and New Testaments reassuring us that God loves us and forgives us all our sins, sometimes in beautiful similies like:
Psalm 103:8-14 (HCSB) 8 The LORD is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger and rich in faithful love. 9 He will not always accuse us or be angry forever. 10 He has not dealt with us as our sins deserve or repaid us according to our offenses. 11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is His faithful love toward those who fear Him. 12 As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us. 13 As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear Him. 14 For He knows what we are made of, remembering that we are dust.
Of course, the New Testament communicates the love and mercy of God even more concretely through the Gospels. The Gospels record Jesus' consistently loving behavior—such as healing even sinners who came to him. If Jesus was the express image of the Father (Heb 1:3) and only did God's will, then it becomes easy for us to visualize God's love and mercy for us.
In the end belivers tend to be more critical of themselves and much harsher judges than God himself is on us. God our Father made us and understands our flaws, our inability to be perfect or to fulfill his will consistently just as we do with our own children. When the end times comes and we are less than perfect in our track record of obedience despite our best or sometimes not-so-best intentions, God will judge us by our hearts and grant us grace. If it were not so, who would be "accounted worthy" to escape?
4. Fear of Being Too Young When the End Times Come
This fear is one that I indeed did fall into. I was in my mid-teens when I first started digging into Bible prophecy. I was blessed to find information that taught about the place of safety, rather than a pretrib rapture. Although I did not have a fraction of the understanding that I possess now, I knew enough for the end time scenario to make sense and to seem very real and imminent. For all I knew back then, it could come any year. This lead to the fear that many youths have upon learning about the end times events of the Bible. They are scared that “the end of the world as we know it” will arrive before they get a chance to really live their own life.
At that age you are looking forward to finishing school, getting married and start a family, and/or starting your career. Therefore it's natural to be concerned about whether you will get to experience any of it before all hell breaks loose. If you can't, you would feel cheated at not getting a chance to have a life of your own and fulfill your dreams.
Solution: I thought that way and so did my wife when she was a girl. Yet here we are today, married and parents of teenagers. What happened? What happened was what has always happens. Time went on longer than we or anyone expected. It may seem redundant to say, but nobody who thought the end was near has been right so far. We should contemplate this when we hear people proclaim that. Nobody knows the day or hour or has much skill at even being able to tell when it is simply “close.” You might remember Jesus saying something about this once or twice. (It took me years of studying prophecy before I could fully appreciate how Jesus meant what he said about no man knowing including himself but only the Father.)
For example, watching things worsen to the point that people declare “it's never been this bad” is not a good indicator of the end. Most generations have seen things get worse than they were previously. Whenever this happens predictions that the end is near multiply. Nevertheless, civilization keeps going on. We should learn from this and realize we most likely have more time than we think, even now. We should trust that when we do not have much time left, God will send a prophet to clearly let us know.
I would bet that even my children finish school or get married before the end comes. It's the safe bet; History is on my side. More importantly, as yet none of the “beginning of sorrows” events that Jesus spoke of in Matthew 24 have happened yet. Until these do, he said “the end is not yet.” There is no sign they are even ready to happen.
Nevertheless, somebody is going to be in their teens and twenties when the end times come. What do I say to them? First, I would say the end times events do not last forever. Probably around seven years. Second, God always has a plan. While your current career or college plans will not be possible, new opportunities will arise out of the new situation that will interest you. Third, as far as marriage, I think a gathering of the saints into one place is going to be one of the best singles scenes ever. I don't see why people will not meet up and marry up (although getting pregant nine months before the rapture could get complicated). Whereas today you have a hard time finding others who share your Bible convictions, then you have a target rich environment. Thus, end time change does not have to be all bad.
5. Fear of Being Too Old When The End Times Come
One of the themes of my research is giving good Scriptural evidence for why it's impossible for the end to come in the majority of the years ahead. I'm the anti-date-setter among Bible prophecy experts. I can debunk just about all the dates out there using my book's roadmap timeline. The timeline shows the possible windows for the start of the 70th Week of Daniel using the sabbath year cycles that the 70 Weeks are aligned on. In other words, in only one out of every seven years can the end start (or can Jesus return).
Further, you can rule out each window before it comes based on the lack of prerequisite fulfillments. (A previous article covered this.)
The last time I ruled out one of these upcoming 70th Week windows, I was surprised at the reaction I got. Some readers on my book customer's private forum were in disagreement. I found that for a few of them, the disagreement was not based on any better information than I had. It turned out to be an emotional response. They did the math on what their age would be based on the now updated earliest possible year for the end of the age and did not like how old that would make them before Jesus could come back. They were afraid of being too feeble, too diseased or too slow when the time comes to march out.
Solution: I answer this fear by again going back to the Exodus story. The Israelites were overworked slaves struggling to make bricks without straw once Moses got involved. Imagine how tired and feeble some of them were. Yet, all of Israel was freed, not just the young or healthy. Even with the normal share of elderly people in a nation, not one of them was feeble or faltered during the march (Ps 105:37). Exodus does not mention that anyone was healed for the trip, but it's hard to imagine that God did not do something so that no one was left behind or had to die from the arduous desert march.
One thing I know for sure about our coming exodus is that we will have healings. As mentioned above, we will have up to 144,000 prophets throughout the world at that time. When Jesus sent out their forerunners, the 12 and the “72” they were commanded to preach, cast out demons and heal. We see the 144,000 in Revelation 7 and 14 sealed with the name of God and protection. Joel 2 mentions the pouring out of the spirit in connection with the coming of the blood moon cosmic disturbances. Peter quoted that very passage on the day of Pentecost when the spirit was poured out on that generation. You can read about all the healings that followed throughout the Book of Acts. Given all of this, it is safe to expect that if you need a healing because you are too old or too afflicted by the “diseases of Egypt” (Dt 7:15) in order to comply with the command to flee Babylon (Rev 18:10), you will have it. God is consistent, merciful and reasonable.
6. Fear of Being Trapped Behind (FEMA Concentration Camps, Martial Law's Closed Borders)
I remember clearly when I first heard the rumors of concentration camps and guillotines along with the red and blue lists being readied to determine which "troublemaker" citizens would meet their end through them. It was when I came in contact with the information of Pamela Schuffert in 2001. She said concentration camps were being prepared throughout the country for a future "American Holocaust" for American citizens just as was done to the Jewish people in WWII by Hitler. I have come in constant contact with people afraid of these camps ever since.
Similar to this rumor are the rumors that "martial law" was coming in the U.S.A. Once sprung, this would result in the closing of borders and restriction of all travel. Presumably nobody would be able to leave America even if they wanted to, even if was the end times.
The fear with all of these scenarios is obvious. When the end times come and God's coming command is prophesied to be "come out of her my people; move forth from the the land" (Rev 18:4; Jer 50:8), then what hope is there for people trapped in prison, camps or behind closed borders?
The solution is evident if you are familiar with God's reasonable and merciful nature towards his people as demonstrated in the Bible. Think about it: most people have no clue that the end times are coming upon us. Assuming they are real, most have no idea about these concentration camp and martial law border closing plans. If these measuers are real and as bad as they seem, then many good saints will be trapped in them and prevented from obeying God's command to leave and move to the place of safety he has prepared (Rev 12:14). That would mean God's plan for his people fails many of them.
Instead, we should again go back to a similar situation of camps, martial law and closed borders: Egypt before the Exodus. The slaves in Egypt had no freedom to up and move to another country. Yet God told them they were going to be leaving for their freedom to the Promise Land. Through a series of plagues and miracles, God released all the people who were willing to march out in faith. Pharoah's armies, the Red Sea, desert and other hazards were not too much for God.
God would not issue a command for all his people to flee their countries to safety from Wormwood when it is impossible for them to comply. If there are obstacles in the way, he must take care of them as he has in the past for his people, such as when Peter was in prison and he opened the gates (Acts 12:7). Anything less will result in few being saved out of those who had faith and wanting to be. God's nature and past acts should quell this fear of any of us being trapped behind and unable to march out when the command is given.
7. Fear of the End Times Not Coming Soon Enough To Solve Your Problems
Of all the fears I have encountered, this one was the most surprising. I first became aware of it early on soon after I made my breakthroughs on prophecy. Back then in 2003 I would go on Paltalk and share my findings in the voice chat rooms they had.
One mother I met on Paltalk did not like what my findings said regarding the end not being imminent or ready to happen at anytime. It seemed to almost depress her. I was surprised at this reaction because I thought research showing we had more time was encouraging news that everyone would be overjoyed to hear. When I inquired to find out why not, she confided in me that she had a terrible family life. Her husband and her were not close. Her teenage kids were disobedient. They were struggling financially. Who would not want an escape from that situation? In that situation, the prospect of God leading us out and taking care of us can be attractive, despite the obvious new challenges it will present.
Since then I have seen more people just like this. People who I find out are interested in the end times because they don't have much to lose in this world when it comes. They say, “I can't wait until the rapture/end comes so we don't have to deal with all this crap anymore.” They might have jobs or bosses that they hate, or their business is struggling due to not enough working capital or a slew of other reasons, or, something more common lately, have no job due to the economy. Ironically, end time Bible prophecy gives them hope.
Solution: This wanting the end to come is, not surprisingly, the hardest of all the issues here to resolve. Because it is driven by a fundamental dissatisfaction in life, it is unlike the above fears where one insight can correct it. If circumstances in your life cause you to want the end times to come, then you obviously have problems you do not know how to solve otherwise. Wisdom is needed. The Bible describes God's way of life as a light yoke leading to wisdom, peace, joy and many other blessings. Proverbs, Psalms, and the Gospels are especially clear on all aspects of this. Reading them (and the entire Bible) over again would be good medicine for this sickness and also a good start towards discovering what wisdom you are missing.
I can testify to the peace that serving God wisely brings. This includes a happier and closer family and always having the finances needed, even if it means living humbly. But I did not learn this through years of belonging to a church. On the contrary, I started to learn it in earnest only after I became disillusioned with church and began studying the Bible on my own at home instead—not to mention developing serious prayer routine like I read Daniel had (Dan 6:13). The traditions we are taught by and practice in religions that come in Jesus' name fail to bring the results that Jesus' own words and instruction would produce if we followed them directly. Religion trains you to focus on the blessing of the next life without training you how to have a blessed joyful life now with God's help.
Even with God's involvement in your life, you will still have problems, challenges and trials. This is necessary to teach us and refine our character (Heb 5:8; James 1:2-18). Since you cannot avoid that, the best you can do is learn to accept it and be thankful always in the face of it(Eph 5:20; Rom 8:18) Many people do not learn that it is always our choice how we decide to react to what happens in our life. We can decide we are a powerless victim who others or even God is picking on, or we can trust God and ask him to help us to see the reason or meaning for it and to be thankful while we wait for it to change.
To be sure, it is not always easy and can take years of walking with God to master. If you cannot seem to make any progress on your own, then it might be wise to consider getting help from a experienced coach or counselor. There is no shame in seeking help. Not the church or anyone else has comprehensively taught us God's “principles of living” so we can avoid learning what works and does not work by trial and error.
There was another comment on my Facebook wall in the same thread. Someone quoted the verse “perfect love casts out all fear...The one who fears is not made perfect in love” (1Jn 4:18). Although it is quoted a lot, that verse is not the answer for end time fears. In context, the verse is actually talking about fear of the day of judgment from God. If we have complete love, we will not fear his punishment because love is the fulfillment of the law of God we are measured by on that day.
Love alone does not conquer the present and immediate threats of this dangerous world we live in. As this article has shown, these fears come out of ignorance. That's why all the solutions to the fears I listed were based on stories and prophecies of the Bible. Therefore, if you still are in fear on these points or others not listed, prayfully reading your Bible is your best bet. It makes you wonder if God knew some of us would need a strong emotion to get us to study our Bibles like we know we should.
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